Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The Arctic – where global heating meets nuclear pollution – polar theme for September 20

Global heating is bringing massive changes to the Arctic, and at an accelerating pace. It is the warning system to the world, as sea ice melts, Greenland’s glaciers melt, swathes of frozen ground thaw, permafrost melts. The Arctic ocean will probably be ice-free in summer by 2040.

Crazily, Russians and Americans rejoice, seeing all this as the opportunity to exploit the region for oil and gas, the very things that are causing this unfolding climate nightmare. Apparently these governments are not concerned about the Arctic processes that bring changed global weather, with changed ocean currents, sudden extreme cold snaps. Global heating speeds up with feedback loops: as ice is lost , dark water absorbs more heat from the sun, melting permafrost releases methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Arctic regions now experience repeated uncontrollable forest fires, bringing environmental and economic destruction.

Nuclear pollution.  The Arctic is where the the two disastrous threats meet – climate change and nuclear radiation. This danger is happening with fires threatening Northern Russian radioactive sites, and with radiation released as buried nuclear items appear from under the ice.   Russia’s dumping of nuclear submarines and other radioactive trash is now recognised as a danger to Arctic ecosystems.

There are 39 nuclear-powered vessels or installations in the Russian Arctic today with a total of 62 reactors. This includes 31 submarines, one surface warship, five icebreakers, two onshore and one floating nuclear power plant.  These numbers are set to increase; . “By 2035, the Russian Arctic will be the most nuclearized waters on the planet.”

There were 2 fatal arctic accidents in 2019 – 14 sailors killed due to a fire on a nuclear-powered submarine, and an underwater nuclear-powered cruise missile exploded.  Several serious submarine nuclear reactor accidents have occurred in Arctic waters, and a U.S. bomber with plutonium warheads  crashed at Thule airbase on Greenland. In the Kara Sea, thousands of containers wit radioactive waste were dumped, together with 16 reactors.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Antarctica – global heating and nuclear issues – theme for September 20

Antarctica is not in the news as much as the Arctic is,  But global heating is affecting Antarctica too, and Antarctica has its nuclear issues.

Antarctica has made headlines several times this year due to extremely warmer than usual temperatures. It has been steadily heating up for decades.  Antarctic ice shelves have lost nearly 4 trillion metric tons of ice since the mid-1990s, scientists say. Ocean water is melting them from the bottom up, causing them to lose mass faster than they can refreeze.  As ice shelves melt, they become thinner, weaker and more likely to break. When this happens, they can unleash streams of ice from the glaciers behind them, raising global sea levels. Antarctica is also losing ice from melting ice sheets, and chunks of ice falling from glaciers.

Less studied than the Arctic region, Antarctic is now being investigated by Australian researchers, using robots to gather data from difficult to reach underwater areas. Satellite monitoring confirms the shelves’ melting trend.

Nuclear issues.  From 6,000 nautical miles away, uranium mining in Australia is polluting the Antarctic.  After 1945 atomic bomb testing sent radioactive pollution to the South Pole, as well as to everywhere else on the planet.

USA  operated  a small nuclear power plant at Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound. It was known as “nukey poo” because of its frequent radioactive leaks. It had 438 malfunctions – nearly 56 a year – in its operational lifetime, including leaking water surrounding the reactor and hairline cracks in the reactor lining. The emissions of low level waste water where in direct contravention of the Antarctic Treaty, which bans military operations as well as radioactive waste in Antarctica. After the reactor was closed down, the US shipped 7700 cubic metres of radioactive contaminated rock and dirt to California.  Many USA naval workers there developed cancers.

Today, small nuclear reactors similar to this one, are being touted for remote areas in Australia and other countries. The history of this one in Antarctica, and 7 others elsewhere, was one of malfunctions, and closing down within a few years. This does not augur well for the small nuclear reactors being promoted today.

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, technology | Leave a comment

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki – time for the Global Nuclear Ban Treaty – theme for August 2020

August 6th and August 9th are the days that remind us of the horror of nuclear weapons.  The failing and desperate nuclear industry would like us to forget  about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They’d like us to swallow their spin about new small nuclear reactors. (But new small nuclear reactors are just the latest gimmick to support the nuclear weapons industry, and put a friendly mask on it. They really have no other purpose.)

In this time of pandemic and global heating, Trump’s USA, Putin’s Russia, and other nations, are putting obscene amounts of money into nuclear weapons. The U.N.’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons  (passed by a vote of 122-1-1 at the United Nations in 2017) is looking ever more rational and necessary.  It will enter into force when 50 nations have ratified it. It’s now up to 43 ratifications.

“The pandemic has taught us that all the world’s great needs and threats are linked. By reallocating bloated military spending and reorienting nations to resolve conflict through peaceful negotiation, people and governments throughout the world can more easily tackle the enormous economic and civil injustices that give rise to conflict and fuel the fire of climate change. Each victory in each arena must be used to feed progress elsewhere if humanity is to survive this century.

As we remember the victims of the atomic bombings 75 years ago and hear the stories of the survivors, we realize more than ever: we are all in this together. ” – Michael Christ, Executive Director, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

August 15, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Remembering Nagasaki

This is perhaps the saddest photograph of the time of America’s August 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The dignity of this boy, as he waits, with his small dead brother strapped to his back, to include the brother in a mass grave.

We know that the bombing of people is unethical, immoral, and simply wrong.

We know that chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction are inhumane and immoral. The global human society knows this, too, and they are illegal under the United Nations Ban –  the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)  and United Nations Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons(TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination. … As of 4 July 2019, 23 nations have ratified the treaty, and it was passed by 120 countries at the United Nations in July 2017.

The nuclear lobby, and the “hawks” may scoff, but this Treaty is clear evidence that the world is coming to see that considering the humanitarian effects of nuclear war, – the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.

The goal is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Sounds too extreme to be taken seriously?   It is not as extreme as the goal of using them, which is still actively being considered by the Pentagon.

In July – commentators, politicians, journalists went ecstatic on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It’s rarely mentioned that USA’s original plan was to explode a nuclear bomb on the moon. It’s rarely mentioned in the current hype about Mars exploration, that the Trump administration’s plan is for nuclear weapons in space .

The humanitarian, the “emotional” side, of discussing nuclear weapons is now taken seriously, much as the nuclear proponents will pontificate about “strategy”, “security” etc. With the UN nuclear ban treaty –   nuclear weapons are no longer “respectable”, and are headed towards eventual elimination.

August 8, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australia and nuclear weapons – theme for August 2020

Sad to say, but Australia, or at least the Australian government, is something of an international pariah  on the great issues of climate action, and nuclear disarmament.

In decades past, Australia took a leadership position on nuclear disarmament.   Not any more.The rot really set in with the dismissal of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister.   That whole thing remains shrouded in secrecy, but Whitlam wanted Australia’s government to know what was going on at Pine Gap, and opposed having a USA  secret spy and military operations base operating in Australia.  I believe that it was Whitlam’s stand about Pine Gap that was the underlying reason for his dismissal.

After Whitlam, Australian governments kowtowed to USA, and continue to do so. As with climate action, the Australian government continues to sabotage international disarmament efforts.  That’s why we have U.S. military bases as targets in this country, and some Liberal and National MPs itching to buy nuclear weapons from US.

On a positive note, however, Australians can be proud of the initiation of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, (ICAN) which was started by Australians, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.  This led to the United Nations Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, voted in by 122 nations, now ratified by 40.  It is an important start, removing any pretense that such weapons could be considered ethical.  There are now 28 Australian councils that call for the federal government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons..

for page Andrew Wilkie  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRfhFITToa8

for International  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XzrxspyzXo

for international – very good  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jveGno7ee9I

 

July 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power, far too slow to affect global heating – theme for July 20

In recent themes I wrote about nuclear power being in fact a big contributor to global warming,  and about how climate change will in fact finish off the nuclear industry.

But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few years to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation.  A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power”   projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.

But the new flavour of the month is Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs), which generate  from 50 to 200 megawatts. So the  world would need, quickly, to have a significant reduction of carbon emissions, i.e at least 7500 largish SMRs – or 30,000 smaller ones., (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)

Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

NUCLEAR’s WHOPPING CLIMATE LIE – theme for July 2020

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth ”

Dr Goebbels would be delighted with the nuclear lobby’s lie that nuclear power is zero carbon and will fix climate change. He would be even more delighted with the current success of this lie.

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

The failing nuclear industry is fighting for its life. It now pitches its salvation on its claim to halt climate change. Even if
that were true (which it isn’t) the world would have to construct several thousand ‘conventional’ reactors, or several millions of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) very quickly, within a decade or two.

How is it that politicians , media, academics have swallowed this lie?

 

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Climate change a grave threat to nuclear power, especially in Australia – theme for July 2020

Over recent months the global nuclear lobby, USA in particular, and its Australian followers, have managed to get Parliamentary Inquiries and Bills going, with the aim of undoing Australia’s laws that prohibit the nuclear industry.  At the same time the push to make South Australia a nuclear waste importing hub has been revived, with the Federal government’s plan for a waste dump at Kimba as the first step.

And what is the nuclear lobby’s argument for nuclear power?  – the absurdly false claim that it will solve climate change.

IT’s THE OTHER WAY AROUND!      Nuclear facilities cannot cope with global heating!   Especially in Australia.

Climate change is bringing  extreme temperatures and weather events, and sea level rise, to Australia.

For Australia, the threats from global warming are very real:

  • bushfires would pose the greatest threat to any nuclear facilities, (as Ukraine and USA are already finding out).
  • Droughts bring water shortages, meaning that precious water is not easily available for water guzzling nuclear reactors.
  • Where inland reactors are water-cooled – the threat to river life of heat pollution becomes greater.
  • There would be great  danger to the Great Artesian Basin increases, especially  for any nuclear facilities located in South Australia
  • For coastal nuclear facilities, sea level rise and storm surges are dangers.
  • For many nuclear facilities ( reactors, fuel processing, waste disposal), coastal or inland, flooding brings more danger.

 

June 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, climate change - global warming, safety | Leave a comment

Financial institutions funding nuclear weapons – theme for June 20

Nobody except a few erratic multi-billionaires is willing to gamble their money on “peaceful” nuclear power.  Still, your taxes are going to so-called “commercial” nuclear power, if you live in a nuclear country.

But banks, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers are investing in nuclear weapons – and you wouldn’t even know that your money is going there.  Don’t Bank on the Bomb has listed institutions around the world with substantial investments in nuclear arms producers. Fo example  From 2013 to 2016, United States 226 Financial Institutions made an estimated USD$ 344 billion available to 27 nuclear weapon producing companies .

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaspons, (ICAN) has identified financial organisations funding nuclear weapons The report Don’t Bank on the Bomb, updated annually by PAX, provides details of financial transactions with companies that are heavily involved in the manufacture, maintenance and modernization of US, British, French and Indian nuclear forces.

ICAN is appealing to financial institutions to stop investing in the nuclear arms industry, as any use of nuclear weapons would violate international law and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. By investing in nuclear weapons producers, financial institutions are in effect facilitating the build-up of nuclear forces. This undermines efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world and heightens the risk that one day these ultimate weapons of mass destruction will be used again.

Engaging in dialogues with financial institutions about their investments in nuclear weapons companies can help to raise their understanding of the effects of nuclear weapons and their status under international law. Here are some tips for letter-writing:

  • How to begin: Let the financial institution know who you are. Do you hold a bank account with them? Are you a member of their superannuation plan? Do you own shares in their company? Are you writing as a representative of a particular organization? Are you simply a concerned citizen?
  • What to include: Inform the financial institution that you are aware of their investments in nuclear weapons companies. Specify which companies and briefly describe the activities these companies are engaged in. Outline why you believe that financing nuclear weapons is illegitimate.
  • Ask for information: Inquire as to whether the financial institution has a policy on investing in the arms industry. If you are already aware that such a policy exists, ask the institution to explain how its investments in nuclear weapons companies can be justified under the terms of the policy.
  • Call for action: Call on the financial institution to divest from all nuclear weapons companies. Explain that nuclear weapons are illegal to use and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. End by making it clear that you expect a response. –  Don’t Bank on the Bomb 

June 20, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

The absolutely UNAFFORDABLE NUCLEAR industry – theme for June 2020

How many $trillions is the American government putting into the nuclear industry, especially nuclear weapons?  With the USA essentially bankrupt, and the pandemic ushering it into an even more dire financial state –  it’s a joke!   Or, it would be a joke, if not for the hardship, suffering, poverty, brought upon its people, by this foolish financial extravaganza on behalf of a corrupt, dangerous and useless industry.

Russia, China, UK France, and soon Middle Eastern nations mindlessly follow this suicidal nuclear path.

The banking industry and other financial institutions join in the frenzy to feed this rapacious evil of the nuclear industry.

Sadly so many jobs and community “benefits” are attached to it.  It is going to take an enormous effort of brains, integrity, some sacrifice – to unravel the nuclear financial mess,.

But the world had better start unravelling it.  Even without the worst outcome –  nuclear war, this foul nuclear industry is going to devastate the finances of nations. and prevent action  to stall global heating.

In this Covid-19 pandemic era, it is absolutely time to phase nuclear out, and help populations to transition to a cleaner world, where public money is spent on the things that people really need.

June 6, 2020 Posted by | business, Christina themes | Leave a comment

The absurd cost of Australia going nuclear – theme for June 2020

The global nuclear industry is in deep shit.   It was so, before the pandemic. It’s in an even worse financial state now.

So, it’s not surprising that there’s a concerted campaign going on –  to foist off this dangerous, out-dated and super-expensive technology onto nations that are nuclear-free.  Australia is an enticing target customer. (Never mind that renewable energy technologies are ever cheaper, and Australia is blessed with a wealth of these)

That is why we now have Nuclear Inquiries going on in several States, and in the Federal government.   Their first target is to remove the anti-nuclear legislation that is now in place in most states, and federally.

There’s also the move to weaken the Environmental Protection  and Biodiversity Conservation Act  (EPBC).  They want to get rid of sections that protect against the special radioactive dangers of the uranium industry.

It’s not just the Yanks wanting to sell off their costly nuclear wares. There’s a determined little nuclear lobby here amongst Australians – military hawks, self-serving politicians, and ambitious and greedy people who want the fame and the money, which will come to a few, if they can get the Australian tax-payers to buy that atomic dream.

That dream – which will be  a nightmare –  involves the entire toxic nuclear chain, from uranium mining through to  geewhiz untested new nuclear technology, nuclear reprocessing, and the importing of the world’s radioactive trash.

The very first step in this nightmare could well be the ill-conceived and rushed move to set up a stranded nuclear waste centre in Kimba, south Australia.   That little enterprise has already cost the tax-payer plenty –   in the attempt to brainwash farming communities that nuclear waste is fine to have near your farm.

If there’s one silver lining that might come out of Australia’s current economic gloom in this pandemic ?recovery period, – it could be the public realisation that Australia does not need the huge costs and hazards of nuclear power, and nuclear weapons.

We have enough expense with that white elephant at Lucas Heights, the Opal nuclear reactor.  ANSTO has grand plans to expand that, when they should be looking to modern, non-nuclear , more practical, ways of producing mediacl radioisotopes.

May 16, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear issues and epidemiology – theme for May 2029

Epidemiology – a forgotten science?   But now, in the time of pandemic, it has come into its own.

The coronavirus illness is a global phenomenon. Global economies have ground to a halt. Epidemiologists, formerly just boring old farts, in a world that reveres high tech and space scientists, now are called upon for guidance .

Epidemiologists are not industry’s favourite people. Sir Richard Doll, in the 1950s, combined laboratory studies on mice with painstaking epidemiological research, proving that cigarette smoking causes cancer,  British Tobacco  did not like him.

The nuclear industry learned  – to downgrade epidemiological research, and prevent it wherever possible.  Subservient governments complied with the nuclear industry.

BUT – there has been epidemiological research applied to nuclear’s ionising radiation and its effect on health – just a few examples –  on nuclear workers’ health., on residents of Belarus and Ukraine, on the developing foetus,

Right now, the world sees value in identifying cases, clusters – where the invisible coronavirus exists, with its threat of immediate illness and death.

Equally dangerous  the cases and clusters of accumulating radioactive particles lead to the threat of later illness and death.

It is time that epidemiological research on ionising radiation was done, properly, thoroughly, like Richard Doll’s cigarette study. Time to no longer allow the nuclear industry to downplay and stifle such research, (and not to let them do their own biased studies)

May 9, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australia: Epidemiology on nuclear radiation? – theme for May 2020

Australia ought to have extensive knowledge on the effects of ionising radiation.   Britain exploded 12 major nuclear bombs and 29 smaller ones in Australia and some neighbouring islands, in the 1950s.   The resulting clouds of radiation would have affected especially indigenous people, Aborigines, Islanders, and also soldiers, and the white population.

Was any epidemiological research done on these populations?   No, there was not.

Australia has had 13 uranium mines, 3 still in operation. It’s not as if the old ones have been thoroughly cleaned up.  Ionising radiation from these mines would have affected miners, the mining community, and Aboriginal communities, and may still be affecting them.

Was any epidemiological research done on the health of these populations?  No, there was not.

This is  why the nuclear lobby can say, confidently –  there is no evidence of harm to health in Australia, from low level ionising radiation.

Plenty of other evidence of individual cases – but these can be brushed off as “anecdotal”.

As the the Australian government plans a radioactive waste dump on agricultural land, and the global nuclear industry successfully lobbies some Australian politicians, it is time to genuinely examine the research that has been done, in other countries.   We pay attention to epidemiology about tiny viruses, why not to epidemiology about tiny radioactive particles?

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry in the time of pandemic – theme for April 2020

Nuclear power may soon be irrelevant to our energy needs. With the pandemic and social distancing, nuclear reactors are likely to be cutting back on output, or even going offline. And there are still the risks of extreme weather. Irrelevant, but still dangerous. Similarly, other nuclear facilities, like waste management, and nuclear weapons sites are also threatened. New nuclear development possibly stopped in its tracks, and certainly adding to its already astronomic costs.

The nuclear lobby, desperate to keep its industry alive, is claiming that “essential work” is the construction of the UK’s boondoggle  –Hinkley C project, and USA’s boondoggle Nuclear Plant Vogtle.

The “Small Nuclear Reactors” industry development  is looking sillier – carrying its huge financial risk, but no safety risk yet, seeing that it does not physically exist.

April 11, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australia – lucky to be Nuclear- Free, in the time of Pandemic – theme for April 2020

Australia really is “The Lucky Country” when it comes to nuclear issues, in this pandemic situation. . We don’t have to worry about staffing and securing dangerous nuclear reactors, nuclear waste facilities, nuclear submarines, nuclear weapons.

We do have one unnecessary nuclear research reactor –   the industry’s “foot in the door”, and its high level wastes. The government may well be quietly proceeding with imposing a nuclear waste dump on Kimba, South Australia, – while everybody is distracted by the Covid19 .

The nuclear lobby is lobbying hard in the Australian Parliament and in the States, to overturn Australia’s very wise nuclear bans. This lobby is working for oversees supporters, “small nuclear power (SMRs)” companies like NuScam.  In the present time of pandemic, Australians, especially politicians, should think about this –  the exorbitant tax-payer cost of SMRs, along with the same dangers as in the large reactors. And with the advantages of renewable energy, especially home rooftop solar.

 

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment